Smoked and Mashed Red Potatoes

Don Porter

While turkey and stuffing are staples of American holiday meals—at our house, anyway—side dishes can elevate the dining experience considerably. And for adding that extra punch to the special occasion, nothing’s better than backyard barbecue. This smoked mashed potato recipe is part of my holiday meal series, which first appeared in issues 52 and 53 of StoryQue magazine.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Serves: 8
Smoker temperature: 425–450 degrees F
Wood: hickory


  • 10 red potatoes, medium to large
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • 1 cup milk or cream (adjust for desired consistency)

Fire up the smoker; you’ll want it hot, 425–450 degrees F. I use hickory for the smoke.

Take ten medium to large red potatoes, which should be enough to feed eight adults. Rinse them thoroughly and remove any brown spots you’d rather not eat. Slice them in half, then in half once more, to produce forty potato quarters.

Place the quarters into a large bowl, sprinkling them with sea salt and ground pepper to taste. Then drop them onto your hot pit for about sixty minutes, turning them every twenty minutes. I used my Green Mountain Grill, Daniel Boone model, pellet smoker.

Back in the kitchen, soften an eight-ounce block of cream cheese. You can set it out and let room temperature do the job, but I usually put it on a small plate and nuke it in the microwave it for thirty seconds.

Once that’s done, in a small skillet on your stovetop, heat your butter, rosemary, and garlic until it’s bubbling. Turn off the heat and set the butter aside.

Once your potatoes are fork-tender, pull them off and return them to the large bowl you used to add salt and pepper. Begin mashing them with a fork. Sometimes the smoked skins will be a little tough; if so, use a sharp knife to help speed up the process.

Once the potatoes have been broken down, add the softened cream cheese and still-warm rosemary and garlic butter. Now it’s time to drag out the electric mixer and really get serious about the mashing, adding a cup or more of milk to achieve your desired consistency. I usually finish it off with a few tabs of butter.

This recipe first appeared in StoryQue issue 53. Subscribe here.

About the author 

Don Porter

Don, a former newspaperman, discovered the magic of smoke and barbecue at about the turn of the century. He lives and practices the art of ’cue along Utah’s Wasatch Front.


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